As this blog’s contribution to the “so-called” Filipino-American Friendship Day, let me share my own experience on how Filipinos are treated like second-class citizens in their own country in that premium piece of land called the US Embassy Manila on Roxas Boulevard.
Ironic but true. Are Filipinos masochists? Or is it just those imperious American Embassy “diplomats” who lack respect for Filipinos (and their hard-earned $131), denying them of their right to a US visa within one minute of seeing them?
The US Embassy in Manila has of course become less “inhuman” already. I remember the time when I got my first US visa in the 90s. People camped outside the embassy premises as early as 10 pm for their interview the next day. Twelve or more hours of waiting for an interview that would only last two minutes or so.
Still, what is highly doubtful about the visa process is how the counters are manned by babes-in-the-woods visa officers who are armed only with their own biases and bigotry about the Philippines and Filipinos. Extreme biases and bigotry at that.
The official US Embassy Manila document says: ” Consular officers make their decisions based on their …. their familiarity and understanding of the Philippines, and the accumulated information available to them based on previous Filipino visa applicants.” This is of course baloney. Chances are these visa officers (especially the younger ones) have not been outside Serendra or the US Embassy Clubhouse to lay claim to an iota of understanding of the Philippines. Vacationing in Punta Fuego doesn’t count either. They have not lived with Filipinos or assimilated themselves to Filipino culture, not unlike the fallen US Peace Corps volunteer Julia Campbell who should be called a heroine in her own right. The “accumulated information” part if questionable as well. If Juan flew the coop upon arriving in California, does it mean you have to judge every Pedro, Miguel and Alejandro of the same motives?
We are not oblivious to the fact that the Philippines has one of the highest rates for illegal aliens in the United States. It is a shame really. For every TNT Pedro who sent a balikbayan box of Spam to his folks back home, poor Pilar has to take the brunt for it when it’s time to apply at the embassy. And yet, it probably escapes US Embassy Manila people that the reason why illegal aliens increased was because their dimwitted visa officers issued visas to the wrong people, based on their false assessments and shortsighted knowledge of their country of assignment.
(to be continued)